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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.

 

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The Battle of Noviodunum, 52BC


The Roman World, To the Strongest, 28mm

This was going to be a larger game, with Late Greeks and Balkan barbarians, but two of the players had to cry off. So, as it was just Sean and I, we hastily revamped our forces, and staged this small game, set during Caesar’s campaigns in Gaul. Surprisingly, Sean opted for the Romans, so I took the Gauls. It was a straightforward battle, with about 75 points a side, played out on a 6×4 foot table. In this battle, the Romans deployed their four cohorts in two lines, with cavalry and slingers on the flanks. the slightly larger Gallic force matched them, but also had a couple of poor-quality warbands on the flanks, plus my one unit of Gallic cavalry. Although the Romans had the initiative, Sean decided to wait and see what happened. Inevitably, that would mean he’d face a full-on Gallic charge. So, my Gauls rolled forward. As the warbands have twice the figures of the Roman cohorts this looked impressive – and I hoped just a little intimidating. Sean though, held his ground. Those Roman legionaries were tough fighters, and defend well when attacked. The clash, when it came, was disappointing. The Roman line held, and although their shower of pila just before the crunch didn’t do much, the Roman swordsmanship proved its worth, and most of my units ended up being disordered, with at least one “hit” apiece. The flanks though, looked pretty inviting. I tried to charge the slingers with one of my flanking warbands, and thought I was doing well when the slingers failed to evade. However, my warband failed to hurt them, which bought time for Sean to deploy one of his reserve cohorts to cover his left flank. Even my javelin-armed skirmishers failed to do anything apart from waste their supply of missiles.In the centre the clash ground on. Both sides had pulled back slightly by now, and were trying to recover their “hits”. The Romans had suffered a little too, so it was really down to who could recover their “mojo first. My two chiefs were quite effective in rallying their troops, so I decided  to launch another charge. This though, was just as ineffective as the last, and the Roman line held firm. The problem for Sean though, was that he didn’t have enough troops to field a reserve. Over on the left he tried launching his Spanish cavalrymen against my Gauls, launching javelins to stall any Gallic attempt to work round his right flank. Over there my other skirmish unit – bow-armed this time – failed miserably to make any impression, and skulked back into the woods when they ran out of arrows.I tried the same, but after my cavalry actually inflicted a “hit” on the Spaniards, I followed up with an impromptu charge. This time the gods were in the Gauls’ favour, and the Spanish cavalry were swept from the field.  We each had seven “victory medals”, which get surrendered when you lose a unit. This meant that Sean was two medals down. If only we could keep this momentum up! It certainly wasn’t going to happen in the centre though, or the Gallic right flank. The long scrum of figures kept up their fight, but nobody seemed to be making any headway. I even had to pull two vulnerable warbands back, as they were now “double disordered”. Then the gods of war spoke. that Gallic cavalry unit of mine had scored the only success of the battle, so I thought I’d try my luck. they charged the Roman cohort that had now covered the gap left by the fleeing Spanish cavalry. The shower of pila did nothing, but in the clash that followed the Gauls turned the best cards, and the Romans didn’t. the result was that the cohort broke and ran. Not only did that mean two more “victory medals” in the bank, but it left the Roman right flank hanging in the air.So, my cavalry advanced, wheeled and trotted into the Roman encampment. The Roman command group in the picture above weren’t really there – they were just on the table for show. The capture of a camp though, means three more victory medals, which meant that Sean’s pot was now empty. That meant a Gallic win on points – seven medals to none. We still played out the rest of the turn though.That of course was as frustrating as any of the earlier clashes. The Gauls not only didn’t make any headway, but they also got badly beaten up, and two more of my warbands were now “double disordered”. Still, the game ended at that point, and thanks to the victory medals I could claim it was a rare win for the Gauls, all thanks to that one unit of cavalry. In fact though, the whole battle was really a draw, as apart from breaking one cohort and an ala of Spanish cavalry, the Gauls had completely failed to break the Roman line. It was very clear that this time round, only the cavalry had Asterix’ magic potion! It was a fun game though,  and it  looked great!

 

 

 

 

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